The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is made up a group of dedicated, passionate, caring and profession individuals including:
We have 28 professionals on staff including counsellors, victim service workers, prevention educators, development and administrative support. Our Leadership Team consists of our Executive Director, Direct Client Services Manager, Prevention Manager, and Resource Development Manager.
We have a range of committed and fabulous volunteers ranging from Sexual Assault Response Team members, Office and Event Volunteers. Find out more about how you can get involved.
Board of Directors
Melanie Wilson – Co-Chair
Melanie has an online greeting card business that she uses to fuel her passion for building and giving back to her community. In 2016 she was presented with the Making History award at Annual Black Community Business Awards Gala for her contributions to her community. She is a leader in the annual Provincial Employees Community Services Fund campaign inspiring her colleagues to support their community by donating to local charities they are passionate about. She volunteered as a big sister for six years mentoring the same young girl as she evolved into her teenage years and hopes to reconnect when her little sister is ready. She inspires people around her through her zest for adventures trying new things and inspiring social media posts. Her passions are leading with her heart inspiring others to shine their own light and share their unique gifts with the world and creating the space for people to show up as who they are in any given moment and honoring their freedom to be and contribute in the ways that work best for them in that moment. When Melanie is enjoying some down time you can find her in nature expanding her photography skills, walking along the ocean front, exploring her creativity through different art forms and taking opportunities to expand and grow her community.
Christoph Peck – Co-Chair
Christoph Peck grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics at Miami University of Ohio.
Over the past ten years, Christoph has built a career in data management, working primarily in the non-profit sector. He owns his own business, helping community organizations use data in order to demonstrate their impact and the need for their services. Much of this work has focused on preventing sexualized violence against women and serving other oppressed and vulnerable communities. This includes data, database, and information management services for several member agencies related to this cause throughout Canada.
Christoph lives in Victoria with his husband and his small, strange son Benjamin, who is also a dog. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing the piano, learning languages (French, Japanese, and ASL especially), and knitting and sewing. He is very excited to actively work to enrich his community by serving on the VSAC’s Board of Directors.
Nancy Carleton – Secretary
Nancy has 30 years of IT experience, and spends her working time delivering multi-year, multi-million-dollar IT solutions for the public sector. She is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and served on the PMI Board of Directors for 4 years, 2 years as President. Nancy is also an amateur triathlete and loves travelling the world to compete in triathlons. She has participated in the Tri of Compassion since 2008 and it was through this event where she was first introduced to the work of VSAC and became an avid fundraiser.
Learning about the prevalence of sexualized violence, and being a victim of bullying, has made Nancy more conscious of society’s acceptance of this male dominating behaviour. Nancy is keen to apply her skills in business leadership and change management, and her passion to ‘get things done’, to help grow VSAC’s education and prevention work, while ensuring the funding necessary to provide prompt and supportive assistance to survivors. Nancy volunteers for multiple triathlons annually, primarily those for young children to provide them with a respectful, safe and fun experience that makes them feel both challenged and proud of their accomplishment, as these are good lessons to learn at an early age.
Kathryn Robertson – Director
Kathryn Robertson grew up in Tsawwassen and Toronto and studied Social Work at the University of Victoria and University of Toronto. Kathryn worked for 5 years in a women’s shelter near Toronto and then went on to work on policy issues related to violence against women and economic justice for women. In 2001 Kathryn moved to Asia to work in the new nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor) soon after its vote for Independence. Kathryn lived and worked in Timor-Leste and Indonesia for the next 16 years. Her work was focussed on supporting local organizations to respond to issues of poverty, homelessness, landlessness, violence against women and children, mental health issues and truth and reconciliation. During her time in Timor-Leste, Kathryn was involved with the first research on the prevalence and perpetration of violence against women in Timor-Leste, supported establishment of “One Stop Shops” in 5 locations (provide counselling, referral, medico-legal documentation, treatment and temporary accommodation for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse) and established an accredited training program for Social Services workers. While she lived in Indonesia, Kathryn had two children and managed programming across 5 countries after the 2005 Asian Tsunami. She was also the wife of an Ambassador….Kathryn’s husband Arlindo was chosen as the first Ambassador of Timor-Leste to Indonesia (former occupying power) after Independence (some history about Timor-Leste). Kathryn moved back to Victoria just over a year ago. Her children are Gaby 15 years old and Moko 12 years old. Kathryn loves tea, podcasts, travelling and walks on West Coast beaches.
Alisha Brown – Director
With seven years of non-profit leadership experience and more than ten in the sector, Alisha is thrilled to serve on Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Board of Directors. Bringing with her an MSc in Psychology, and a background working with vulnerable populations, she is keenly interested in applying her diverse set of skills to further the success of VSAC’s mission. She has served organizations in human resources, fundraising, communications, administration, program development and delivery, event organization, and more. Growing up in Northern BC afforded her the gift of extensive travel through the Yukon and Alaska. In her spare time, you can find her learning and studying something new (there’s so much to know about the world!), exploring behind the lens of a camera, devouring delectable delicacies, writing, and nourishing her deep life-giving relationships.
Julia Denley – Director
Julia is a student at the University of Victoria, working on a degree in biochemistry/microbiology and psychology with the aim of pursuing a career in medicine. She is passionate about advocacy and awareness work concerning issues such as sexualized and gender-based violence, disability, mental health and addictions, poverty and housing affordability, and health care disparities that particularly affect marginalized populations, such as increased stigma when accessing care and delayed diagnosis of complex chronic diseases.
She is the Co-Founder and President of the UVic Mental Health Awareness Club, which works to destigmatize mental illness through education, to build a supportive social community for students dealing with mental health challenges, and to promote awareness of available campus and community mental health services and supports.
As a survivor of sexualized violence and previous client at VSAC, Julia is grateful to be able to contribute to the Centre in a volunteer capacity. She first started volunteering at VSAC as a community fundraiser, moving on to complete her SART training in the winter of 2011, and later on volunteering as a Senior SART worker until 2015. Serving on the Board of Directors since 2012 has been another great experience, as she is always happy to find more ways to be involved with the important work that VSAC does in our community.
Sheldon Kitzul – Director
Sheldon is a Leadership Coach, Social Worker, Educator and political activist. His work provides inspiration for clients through energy, insight and enthusiasm, and is centered on his belief that sexualized violence is, in our current social malaise, covertly taught as acceptable to our boys and girls. As many others have expressed, sexualized violence is a men’s issue and as such, he works toward re-educating boys and men to step out of gendered boxes and put a stop to violence in every form. As a client once wrote, “A recommendation does not even come close to expressing the profound effect that the coaching relationship with Sheldon has had on both my business life and personal well-being.” He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Victoria and is an Associate Certified Coach, earning that credential through Accomplishment Coaching in Seattle, WA. He currently coaches business owners, executives, and politicians.
Madeline Lusk – Director
Madeline Lusk (she/her) attended McGill University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work. Throughout her time at McGill, Madeline volunteered with the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society providing confidential, non-judgmental services to survivors. Madeline then completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto and, after graduating, she was employed at a non-profit organization in Toronto working alongside children, youth, and their families involved in ongoing child sexual abuse investigations. Madeline specialized in crisis intervention, trauma-informed support, and advocacy within multiple systems including the criminal justice system. Madeline is currently working toward a law degree at the University of Victoria with the goal of using the law as a tool for social change and restoration. Madeline spends her downtime cooking complicated recipes and attempting to grow vegetables on her balcony.
Kelsey Topola – Treasurer
Kelsey is an accountant pursuing her professional CPA designation. Having completed her studies at the University of Saskatchewan in December 2018, Kelsey moved to Victoria where she began to seek out opportunities to contribute to her new community. She was delighted to find VSAC, an organization that aligns closely with her values and beliefs, and she is looking forward to working with the staff and board to ensure the organization’s long-term financial health.
Before moving to Victoria, Kelsey taught writing at the University of Saskatchewan where she loved spreading her passion for grammar and helping students develop and express their thoughts on subjects ranging from Frankenstein’s monster to the composition of concrete.
Outside of work, Kelsey loves to read (Flannery O’ Connor in particular), practice yoga, watch scary movies, and take naps with her cats Ben and Bort.